|Eggplant Parmesan with Homemade Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Creamy Burrata Cheese, Fresh Basil, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction|
For the Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce:
2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
4 Cloves of Fresh Garlic (2 minced + 2 thinly sliced)
½C Vidalia Onion, Finely Chopped
4C Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
2T Balsamic Vinegar
¼t Dried Oregano
1t Dried Red Pepper Flakes (or less if you don’t want it that spicy)
¾C Fresh Basil, Minced
Pinch of Sugar (or to your desired liking)
Fleur de Sel & Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste
For the Breaded Eggplant:
1 Large Eggplant, Sliced ¼inch Thick Slices
2T Kosher Salt
½C AP Flour
1 Beaten Egg + ¼C Buttermilk
Herbed Italian Breadcrumbs (you can use traditional or panko style)
Canola Oil, For Frying
For the Eggplant Parmesan:
Prepared Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Room Temperature
Breaded Eggplant Slices (already fried until crispy & golden brown)
2 Balls of Creamy Burrata Cheese, Cut into Slices
Fresh Basil (whole, large leaves)
4T Freshly Grated Parmesan
A Sprinkling of Dried Red Pepper Flakes
Balsamic Reduction, For Drizzling
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking dish with Pam. Also, for a helpful hint, it is important that you make sure that you have an equal amount of slices of the eggplant + burrata cheese, as well as that many large fresh basil leaves.
2. For the Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce: In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté the diced onions + the fresh garlic (both minced and sliced) and cook until translucent. Reduce the heat to low, add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and burst and the butter turns brown, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil. Season the sauce with fleur de sel, fresh cracked pepper, and sugar to taste.
3. For the Breaded Eggplant: Cut the eggplant in ¼inch slices and toss the 2T of kosher salt. Arrange in a single layer in a colander for 45 minutes to an hour. Then dry completely with paper towels, making sure to press down and remove any more moisture and excess salt. Next, you have to set up a battering station. I use 3 pie tins. For the first station, I use plain flour. For the second station, I whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. For the third station, I use herbed Italian breadcrumbs. Now, place the slices of prepared eggplant into the flour mixture, then into the egg wash, and finally the breadcrumbs (making sure they are completely covered).
4. Frying the Eggplant: Heat a deep sauté pan to medium heat with the canola oil. Once the oil has heated, fry the slices for 2-3 minutes each side (depending on the size of your fryer, mine is pretty small, so I do 2 at a time). The eggplant should be golden brown on the outside and velvety soft on the inside. Once they are done frying, place them onto a paper towel to drain, and sprinkle them with salt & pepper immediately. After all of the eggplant is fried, you can begin layering your Eggplant Parmesan.
5. Layering the Eggplant Parmesan: Begin the assembling process by spreading a ladle-full of room temperature, brown butter-heirloom tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking dish as a base. Layer the crispy eggplant slices, a piece of creamy burrata cheese, & whole fresh basil leaves, following this shingling technique, repeatedly, until all of the components have been used up. Finish by freshly grating some Parmesan cheese and sprinkling some red pepper flakes over the top of the Eggplant Parmesan.
6. Baking the Eggplant Parmesan: Place the finished dish into the oven and bake until the burrata cheese has melted until ooey-gooey and everything has reached a golden brown color. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
7. Finishing the Eggplant Parmesan: Once it has all melted, crisped, baked, and cooked through, spoon a portion of the eggplant onto plates and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan + a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Enjoy with a hearty glass of red wine!